Ghanerao Royal Castle, Ghanerao, Rajasthan
I am spending a couple of days at a jungle lodge in Ghanerao, Rajasthan, with my brother Manoj, sister-in-law Sonali, and childhood friends Paresh and Jayendra. Manoj oversees the jungle lodge and a 450-year-old fort at the edge of a forest that is home to leopards, bears, monkeys, snakes and a large variety of exquisite birds.
On way to Ghanerao
From left Paresh Pandya, Jayendra, Manoj Chhaya
This morning as I write the post I hear bird calls that I have never heard before. There is of course the near mocking cock-a-doodle-do.The only jarring piece is the dog-bark. Dawn broke today with these weirdly coordinated sounds which I am sure had some musical logic to it somewhere but I did not quite get it.
The lodge building is said to be close to 100 years old and made of solid stone. There is next to no possibility that any of the wildlife can get in unless some windows and doors are left open. Mine were not and yet I found that the glycerin soap in the bathroom had mysteriously moved from the edge of the sink to the floor with very distinct teeth marks. Unless I have started sleep soap-eating, it has to have been something that crawled in. My conclusion is that it was some kind of rodent.
The most memorable gift last night, apart from the easy flowing, mirthful conversations with Paresh, Jayendra and Manoj, was the stunningly well-defined sky. For some reason everything looked closer. The half moon seemed close enough for me to move around at will. Paresh, a fellow physics and science student, said the last time he visited here he could clear see the Milky Way clearly. That grabbed my attention because I have never seen our own galaxy the way it famously reveals itself across the sky. We kept looking but it never quite became visible. I am going to try tonight one more time before we return to the grind of my work in Ahmedabad and Junagadh.